Having all of the versatility of a normal bicycle, but the effortless ride of a motorized vehicle, it is no wonder that e-bikes are becoming an incredibly popular transportation method in Cary. You can often see folks of all ages riding greenways and streets with their e-bikes, and you may be wondering how you can get in on the fun. Here’s everything you need to know about riding your e-bike in Cary!
What is an e-bike?
An e-bike is a bicycle equipped with a battery that helps assist with pedaling. Some e-bikes have a throttle where you don’t need to pedal the bike to operate it, but all e-bikes have to have pedals to be considered an e-bike. They range in style, with some looking no different than a normal bike, while others might be a bit flashier and like a moped.
There are different classes of e-bikes, but most have a top speed of 20 MPH.
Why would I use an e-bike?
Great question! A normal bike is wonderful exercise and can help you get to places that would be too far to walk to but not necessarily far enough to warrant you getting in your car. I love riding my bicycle in Cary, but if I am using it to actually go to a destination like a grocery store, barber, or restaurant, I will be drenched in sweat by the time I get there. As a result, I use an e-bike for practical trips (and some sightseeing) and my normal bike when I want to exercise.
E-bikes have fantastic benefits for other folks as well. If you have mobility issues, e-bikes are so much easier to operate than a normal bicycle that they may allow you to experience your town in a way you didn’t think was possible. It’s definitely not for everyone, and it still requires effort to ride, but if you’ve tried to use a normal bike and found it too physically challenging, an e-bike would be a great alternative.
What rules are in place for e-bikes in Cary?
E-bikes are allowed on the road and greenway trails in Cary. When operating on a greenway, the rider must be pedaling to activate the motor and they can not exceed speeds of 15 MPH. Just as with a manual bicycle, cyclists must give pedestrians the right of way and announce when overtaking (typically by calling out “on your left” before you pass).
Is it safe to ride an e-bike in Cary?
Just as with riding a normal bicycle, there are precautions you should take before riding. When riding on the road, you should be as close to the middle of the lane as possible to allow cars not to try to overpass you dangerously unless there is a dedicated bike lane available. If there are multiple lanes, you must stay in the right-hand lane unless you are turning. You should always ride with the flow of traffic and follow traffic signs. Of course, you should wear protective gear, such as a helmet, before riding.
On many roads in Cary, it can feel incredibly dangerous to ride a bike, electric or otherwise. Plan out your routes beforehand and avoid busier roads if you don’t feel comfortable riding on them. It is perfectly legal to ride on any road that isn’t a highway, but drivers in Cary don’t always share the road as they are legally required to.
I use the Triangle Greenspace App (available on iOS and Android) to map out my routes before leaving and take as many greenway trails as possible to reach my destination. The app highlights all of the greenways in Cary so that you can easily figure out how to reach the next one. Not only is it safer, but it is a much more enjoyable ride as well.
Overall, it is pretty safe to ride an e-bike in Cary, but just be extra cautious if you have to go on a major road like Kilidare or Maynard and try to avoid it if possible. Riding on the greenways in Cary is safe and a lot of fun for almost all skill levels.
Parking an e-bike
You can lock up your e-bike just as you would with a normal bicycle. If your bike has a removable battery and you’re going to be leaving it parked for more than a few hours, I would recommend taking it with you in a backpack so that you don’t risk it overheating or having it get stolen. Otherwise, you can use any normal bike rack!
What are the best greenways for e-bikes?
If you are simply looking for joyriding, Black Creek Greenway is probably the best example of the benefits of having an e-bike. There are a lot of hills on Black Creek Greenway that most e-bikes can conquer without issue, but you would be seriously working up a sweat on a normal bike. It’s over 7 miles long and an absolutely beautiful ride.
White Oak Creek is the longest greenway in Cary and would be a perfect space to ride your e-bike for a good amount of time. It is mostly flat, but you’ll end up at the American Tobacco Trail to continue your ride if you still have any juice left.
See you on the trails!